CALHOUN, Ga. (WRCB) -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football program picked up its first commitment for the Class of 2012 when Calhoun linebacker Alex Kirby gave his pledge to the Mocs on Tuesday night.

The 6-foot, 216-pound linebacker earned all-state honors in 2010 and was named to the Times Free Press Dynamite Dozen in August as one of the area's top 12 college prospects, yet he entered the 2011 campaign without a single college offer.

After helping lead the Yellow Jackets to an eleventh straight region title as a senior this year, the offers finally came.

"Alex is one of the best linebackers, if not the best, we've had since we've been here," Lamb told the Times Free Press. He added the Mocs "were getting a steal."

Chattanooga's defense has emerged as one of the best in the country on the FCS level, led by likely all-SoCon middle linebacker Wes Dothard. Sophomore Gunner Miller, a former East Ridge standout, also starts, but the Mocs will need a replacement for departing senior Ryan Consiglio after this year.

"They have showed me a lot of love from the first day I went up there and they have kept their word," Kirby told the Calhoun Times. "It's close to home and I could get some early playing time as well."

First things first, Kirby and the Jackets will host Jefferson this Friday in the opening round of the Class 2A state playoffs. Calhoun has finished state runner-up to Buford each of the last three years.